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Rated PG-13 · 112 min. · 2010

It might be unfair to judge Country Strong against other movies, because while it looks like a movie, it’s actually a collection of clichés so tired they wouldn’t surprise a second grader. There’s the damaged country legend on a comeback tour (Gwyneth Paltrow, woefully miscast and completely unbelievable as a wrecked, fading star); her distant husband/manager (Tim McGraw, who completely wastes his country cred and thinks growing a beard is acting); the guitar-slinging young buck caught between them; and the Taylor Swift-ian country-pop princess nipping at Paltrow’s career. These characters are as thinly drawn, and not a single one of them is worth rooting for. Surprisingly, the one area where Country Strong doesn’t completely fail is the soundtrack. Indiscriminating fans of contemporary country music will probably find at least one song they can tolerate (and maybe even like), despite Paltrow’s consistently thin vocal performances and some of the worst fake-guitar playing since Marty McFly crashed the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance.
Director: Shana Feste
Writer: Shana Feste
Cast: Gwyneth Paltrow, Leighton Meester, Garrett Hedlund, Tim McGraw, Kayla Perkins, Sean Symons, Jim O'Rear, Jeremy Childs, Ed Bruce and Vernon Mitchell

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